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A History of Wisconsin Taverns and Breweries


DeBruin's Bar, also known as Dr. Jekyll's, in Appleton (photo by Mark Fay)

Cheers! A new book from the Wisconsin Historical Society Press, "Bottoms Up: A Toast to Wisconsin's Historic Bars & Breweries," celebrates Wisconsin's taverns and the breweries that fueled them. Authors Jim Draeger and Mark Speltz chose 70 of Wisconsin's unique and historic saloons, bars, taverns and breweries to best illustrate the state's well-known bar culture and brewing history. Color photographs by Mark Fay illustrate the selected taverns.

Exploring the Rise of Taverns and Breweries

The cover of "Bottoms Up: A Toast to Wisconsin's Historic Bars and Breweries"

Beginning with inns and saloons, the book explores the rise of taverns and breweries, the effects of temperance and Prohibition, and attitudes about gender, ethnicity and morality. It traces the development of the megabreweries, dominance of the giants and the emergence of microbreweries. Contemporary photographs of unusual and distinctive bars and breweries of all eras, historical photos, postcards, advertisements and breweriana illustrate the story of how Wisconsin came to dominate brewing — and the place that bars and beer hold in our social and cultural history.

Featured Taverns All Over Wisconsin

Featured establishments represent diverse architectural styles, from the open-air Tom's Burned Down Café on Madeline Island to the Art Moderne Casino in La Crosse and from Club 10, a 1930s roadhouse in Stevens Point, to the well-known Wolski's Tavern in Milwaukee. There are bars in barns and basements and brewpubs in former ice cream factories and railroad depots. "Bottoms Up" also includes a heady mix of such beer-related topics as ice harvesting, barrel making, bar games, Old-Fashioneds, bar fixtures and the queen of the bootleggers.

This fall there will be many special opportunities for you to toast this book and meet the authors as well as a 'Bottoms Up' exhibit at the Wisconsin Historical Museum, which opens September 25, and a companion Wisconsin Public Television documentary that airs in November. Following is a selection of events scheduled around the state that will give readers a chance to pick up a copy of the book and have it signed by the authors.


:: Posted August 20, 2012

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